Brit royals get 1.6M palace ‘Panic Rooms’
LONDON - Fears of an Al Qaeda terrorist attack prompted Queen Elizabeth to install so called panic rooms at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, The Sunday Times of London reported today.
The high security rooms are encased in 18-inch-thick steel walls and are designed to protect senior members of the royal family from poison gas, bomb attacks and other assassination attempts.
The panic rooms cost taxpayers $1.6 million and replaced smaller, sparsely furnished rooms.
The shell of each new room is bullet-resistant and fire-retardant, and the rooms themselves could withstand a mortar attack and even possibly a direct hit by a small airplane, the newspaper said. Windsor Castle is on the flight path for London’s Heathrow Airport.
The rooms are equipped with secure communications, beds, washing facilities and enough food and hot water for the royals to survive at least a week.
The rooms were built following a security review after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in the U.S.
Tom Gaffney, owner of Gaffco, which manufactured the panic rooms and does a lot of business in New York City, said the rooms would be hidden from public view.
He added that security experts likely would advise the queen to take her beloved Welsh corgi dogs into the room with her in the event of an attack. “If you leave them outside, they’ll sniff you out and their barking would give you away,” he said.